Thursday, August 12, 2010

Words Words Words Words Words Worlds....

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that it didn't take me long after my July Blog-a-thon to slip back into my bad old ways, aren't you.

Well, have I got news for you!

Uhm.

You're right.

Still, here I am. With bronchitis, nonetheless. But the antibiotics are cutting in now, and I can go for up to half an hour without coughing, which is nice.

Anyway, on to the serious stuff.

I spend my life swimming in words: when I'm not writing them, I'm speaking them or reading them, or assessing them. My 'spare time' is spent either weaving them together or pulling them apart. My own words, other people's words - doesn't matter.

Worlds of words.

And, of course, the upshot of this is that - like most people - most of the time nowadays I take words for granted. It's gotta be a pretty special set of words to leap off a page and catch my attention, and most of the time I just swim through them without noticing how beautiful - how powerful and miraculous - even the simplest word is.

The reason I mention it is that Toby is starting to talk at the moment.

Well, technically he's been talking for a little while, now, a couple of months at least. He started his first basic words back in about April or May; 'mum' 'water' 'milk', that sort of thing.

But lately, something has gone 'click' in that little brain of his, and now he's picking up words on a daily basis: he repeats whatever we say. He points excitedly at anything he recognises and tells us what we're looking at (Drives home are great fun; 'Car! Car! Car! Bus! Car! Car! Car! Truck! Car! Tiger!*)

Every word is a delight, to him and to me. The sheer joy that is written all over his little face at just having that simple, most basic skill of communication; the ability to name an object, and the connection that comes with it, reminds me every time of the sheer beauty of human communication; of what it brings to a life, and of what you can do with it.

This was really driven home to me when we were in Perth a couple of weeks ago. To Min and my amazement, Toby's cousin, Meri, who's about 18 months older than him and therefore a much more fluent speaker, could talk to him, and understand exactly what he was saying to her, even when we couldn't.

"Toby is thirsty. He wants water." She'd tell us, and suddenly the last five minutes of Toby trying to climb up onto the kitchen bench made sense.

"Toby's being silly." Meri informed us one evening, just as our son tried his best to stick his tongue into a dripping tap.

Watching the two of them talk - and they had long conversations on a few occasions - was one of the delights of the trip. Just like watching this little growing miracle of language is an ongoing delight now.

If nothing else, it's been a really good reminder to me not to take my words for granted - every single little utterance that Toby makes is hard fought for; he struggles to get his tongue around difficult sounds, or to tack on that extra syllable, or to pick one word out of a string of others. But when he gets it, there's delight all round.

And as a final, vaguely related offering, here's a video that's been doing my head in slightly. It's an Italian parody of a 60's pop song, sung in gibberish, but designed to sound like American English. You'll go nuts trying to 'interpret' it.

Which, at the moment, is probably how Toby is experiencing the world, too.



*I said his vocab was expanding, but we're still working on the difference between a cat and a tiger...

3 comments:

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  2. Interesting comment there @kathycl - so apt re gibberish.
    Thanks Tony - will follow you and Toby with interest!

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  3. You know somethign kathycl? I think that's the question we're all asking ourselves, at some subliminal level - how can I find my bankruptcy records fast? It speaks to the human condition, really, doesn't it.

    I have a question for you, in response - how can I put an anti-spam filter on my comments, fast?

    Don't bother answering. I'll show you...

    :)

    Looks like I'll have to put some form of comment moderation in place. Sorry about that, folks. I'd hoped to avoid it, as it goes pretty much against what I'd like this blog to be, but there you are.

    And Lucy, great to have you on board :D

    ReplyDelete

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